How to Protect Your Identity: Widespread Unemployment Fraud Identified in Ohio

According to The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), a number of Ohioans who didn’t register for unemployment benefits in 2020 will be receiving a 1099-G form from the State saying they did receive benefits and stating the amount. If you are among them, you are likely the victim of a fraudulent unemployment claim, a type of identity theft resulting from what is known as a Social Engineering Attack. Cybercriminals use phishing (emails), smishing (texts) or vishing (phone/voicemail) to steal your identity, then use it to file fraudulent unemployment claims.

If you believe you are a victim of unemployment fraud, file with the ODJFS at The site provides a link to “Report Identity Theft” and offers detailed information in a section titled “ID Theft: What To Do.”

To protect yourself from Social Engineering Attacks, we recommend:

  1. Don’t give your Social Security number to someone you don’t know. No government agency or legitimate organization will request your Social Security number via email, text message or telephone.

  2. Scrutinize messages containing urgent requests.

  3. Study the message for subtle misspellings or replacements of letters with numbers.

  4. Use the “hover over” technique on a hyperlink in an email, then examine the URL you find there for the actual website/entity that will process the request.

  5. Verify the request via a different method, such as a phone call or online chat instead of a message reply.

  6. Never rely on the contact information or account numbers provided in the message!

Other ways to protect your identity (not an all-inclusive list):

  1. Review your annual free credit report via the Annual Credit Report website.

  2. Regularly monitor your credit cards online.

  3. Enable two-factor authentication for all your online financial and medical accounts.

  4. Consider freezing your credit files (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union).

Find additional email security recommendations in our article at:

About the Author(s)
William Heaven is a senior manager in HBK’s IT Department. He specializes in cybersecurity, IT security, external IT audit, internal IT audit, IT consulting, software development, IT governance, PCI-DSS, supply chain, system implementations and e-commerce. You can reach Bill at 330.758.8613, or by email at
Hill, Barth & King LLC has prepared this material for informational purposes only. Any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or under any state or local tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the matter.